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EDITORIAL

In a city that loves debates, the Laguna Colony Resort has provided

its fair share of outrage. The planned resort where the Treasure Island

Motor Home Park once stood was too ritzy and snobby for Laguna’s folksy,

art-filled community, opponents said. It was also way too big.

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A referendum three years ago proved how divided the city was over the

$150-million project: While 55% supported the plans for a 275-room luxury

hotel, 17 homes and 14 condominiums, 45% voted against them. It was

strong enough support, certainly, to move ahead with the construction,

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but it’s far from a mandate. As other concessions were won from Athens

Group, the developer, support grew, but fervent opponents remained dead

set against the project.

More recently, residents were up in arms over plans by the Athens

Group to build an offshore mooring for 50-foot boats. The idea was

scuttled last fall because the city outlaws motor boats from coming to

shore, making access slow and difficult.

And now, it appears, another large, lingering dispute has been put to

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rest. Last week, the City Council voted -- though not unanimously -- to

alter the agreement with Athens Group so the city’s cost for building the

area’s public park will be capped around $7.8 million, rather than rising

to $9.3 million. It’s a significant savings, though far from what the

city could have held onto if council members had decided to cap their

part of the costs at $175,000 much earlier in their talks with the

developer.

Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. And we hope that when we all look back

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on this decision by the council, this will be the point where residents

began appreciating the benefits of the project: more money for the arts

and our schools, not to mention the public park that promises to be a gem

in Orange County.


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